I wrote this homily without realizing that Deacon Steve is preachi this weekend.  I posted it here for additional prayer and reflection for those who find it useful.

Thirty First Sunday In Ordinary Time C 2010

In seminary, one day Fr. Kurt preached a homily on Zacchaeus.  He said, “I am Zacchaeus and you are Zacchaeus.”  He went on to explain why each of us could relate to Zacchaeus.  The following week, we had a seminary meeting and one of my fellow students made up name tags for all the faculty, staff, and students to wear.  When Fr. Kurt arrived in the room, everyone was wearing a, Hello my name is Zacchaeus tag.

Just imagine the Gospel story as told by Joshua, a bystander.  I heard about Jesus long ago.  His miracles and parables made him famous.  I never had the opportunity to leave home to and seek Jesus out because my father is ill.  Life has been a struggle as of late.  I used to build homes but after dad got sick I had to quit.  That job kept me away from my father for too long.  I started working odd jobs for my neighbors and raising vegetables in the garden.  Money is tight.  In fact, I have to hide whenever Zacchaeus comes around demanding the taxes I owe to this foreign empire and king.  Once he even kicked the door down because I could not answer the door in time.  I was busy feeding my dad.  I had no money to give him and he took away my dad’s pocket watch.  That was the only treasure my dad had from his years of work and Zacchaeus just took it.

One day as I was tending the garden, my neighbor came and informed me that Jesus was coming to our village.  I was so excited that I ran in the house and told my dad that Jesus was coming.  Maybe I could get a few neighbors to carry my dad where Jesus will pass through.  I tried to find someone but people were all running to see Jesus.  No one would stop and help me.  What a fine group of people this is.  They go and listen to someone tell parables about the need for charity and not one of them is charitable towards my father and me.  So I make my way to the road thinking Jesus will see me.  He knows the struggles of other people and perhaps he will come to my house and heal my father.

 

When I arrive by the road, there was Zacchaeus.  Initially, I was going to hide since I had not yet paid my taxes.  If he saw me, he would demand payment or perhaps even strike me.   I noticed that he was not paying attention to the crowds like he usually does.  He was trying to see Jesus but he was so short he was not getting anywhere.  Good, he deserves to suffer like the rest of us.  I run ahead to see if I can stop Jesus and tell him about my father.  Just as Jesus gets to me, he looks above my head.  There is Zacchaeus.  Why would Jesus want to do anything with him?  He is a wicked person!  Jesus even wants to stay at his house?  Today salvation came to his house?

 

Why would God have anything to do with Zacchaeus?  Why would God have anything to do with us?


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